Mike Bedigan and Ellie Iorizzo, PA
The phone belonging to British actor Julian Sands appears to show he was on the move, heading into a mountainous area in southern California, two days after he was reported missing.
Sands (65) was reported missing during a hiking trip in the Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel mountains on Friday, as searches by local authorities continue by “helicopter and drones when weather permits”.
An update from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said phone pings showed Sands “to be heading to the Mount Baldy area” on January 15th – two days after he was first reported missing.
The statement continued: “Additional phone pings from the cell provider were attempted but were unsuccessful, due to the lack of cell service and most likely cell phone power failure.
“A delayed ping through Sands’ Apple iPhone operating system, from January 14th, 2023, provided a possible location on one of the trails leading to the summit of Mount Baldy. This area was checked by ground searchers and by helicopter.
“Ground and air searchers were unable to locate any evidence in this area that would assist in locating Mr Sands.”
The development comes after the department said there is still “no hard deadline” for calling off the search one week after he was first reported missing in the southern Californian mountains.
The US authorities said the incident was still being classified as a search and rescue operation, though snow, sleet and fog continued to hinder operations on foot.
As of Thursday, visibility at high altitudes in the Mount Baldy area remained poor, with searches to continue when conditions permitted.
“We will schedule another ground search when the weather improves, and it is safe for our ground crews,” a spokesman from the department told the PA news agency.
The spokesman added that there was “no hard deadline” for abandoning search efforts and “no date set”.
Earlier on Thursday, Sands’ family towed his car from a car park where it was discovered during the search.
Mount Baldy residents noted the “extreme” conditions but said they would not “rule anything out” in the mission to find Sands.
“Conditions can be extreme and even as a resident we don’t hike this time of year. It’s sketchy, it can be very dangerous,” Stephanie Coyne told PA on Mount Baldy.
“In prior years other people have gone missing and (people) get injured every year.”
Ms Coyne, who works at the Mount Baldy ski resort, said the weather conditions were “typical” for the time of year.
“People have been found, it can happen. I wouldn’t rule anything out – the whole situation is just unfortunate,” she said.
Ms Coyne said there had been other instances of hikers suffering “falls” in the same area in past weeks.
Jaqueline Miller-Weaver, another resident, who works at the Mount Baldy sled shop, told PA: “It’s really rough, conditions are really bad.
“It’s really icy in some areas, even crampons wouldn’t help you,” she added.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department previously urged hikers to “think twice and heed warnings”, saying its search and rescue teams had responded to 14 calls on Mount Baldy and in the surrounding area over the last four weeks.
Yorkshire-born Sands is known for his breakout role as the free-spirited George in the period drama A Room With A View, in which he starred opposite Helena Bonham Carter, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith.
He also featured in Leaving Las Vegas and Warlock, as well as on television in 24, Smallville and Banshee.
More recently he played the chief medical officer in the 2021 Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi-led drama Benediction.
He has lived in Los Angeles since 2020.
From 1984 to 1987 Sands was married to future Evening Standard and Today editor Sarah Sands, with whom he has a son. He also has two daughters with journalist Evgenia Citkowitz, whom he married in 1990.